Agilent - Component Testing Using an Oscilloscope with Integrated Waveform Generator

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This application note describes methods for testing components using an oscilloscope and waveform generator. We will show you how to test capacitors, inductors, diodes, bi-polar transistors, output resistance and cables. These test methods can be used to confirm a defective component or identify the value of an unmarked component.

Test Configuration

The general idea behind this method of component testing is to apply a stimulus to the component using a waveform generator and measure the response using an oscilloscope. The Agilent Technologies InfiniiVision XSeries oscilloscope has a built-in waveform generator, making it a convenient "one-box" solution for component testing. This is not a complete substitute for specialized component testers, which provide better accuracy and more comprehensive testing; however, specialized testers may not be readily available. In that case, this is a "quick and dirty" way to test components with more commonly available equipment.

Capacitor and Inductor Testing

For testing capacitors and inductors, a 10-Hz 100-mVpp square wave is used as the stimulus. Using such a low voltage makes in-circuit testing of the DUT possible without biasing semiconductor devices that may be connected to the DUT. Also this low voltage minimizes reverse leakage current on polarized capacitors, which may degrade measurement accuracy...

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